Spending cuts in Greece will be a ‘heavy package on the backs of people’

Marketplace Staff Oct 3, 2011
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Spending cuts in Greece will be a ‘heavy package on the backs of people’

Marketplace Staff Oct 3, 2011
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Steve Chiotakis: The Greek government today announced a proposal to cut 30,000 state workers. That’s just a day after the country’s finance minister said Greece will not meet its deficit target this year, as part of Europe’s demand in order to loan the country billions of dollars to avoid default.

Christos Michaelides is current affairs editor at the Athens daily newspaper Eleftherotypia. Christos, good morning.

Christos Michaelides: Hi, good morning.

Chiotakis: Is there any surprise that the Greek government says it’s going to miss its financial targets?

Michaelides: Well there’s no surprise for anything anymore here in Greece. People have stopped believing anything whatsoever, I must tell you. The government still believes that it is going to get the six installments of the loan from the IMF and the European Central Bank.

But it’s not very likely at the moment. They have announced new package of austerity measures late last night and it’s quite a heavy package on the backs of people, but still it doesn’t seem to be enough.

Chiotakis: Now I know the Vouli has passed a measure that would cut tens of thousands of jobs. How will that going to affect the country?

Michaelides: Right, well this needs to be voted on by parliament. The discussion is going to start today and by the end of the week we’re going to have the final decision. We don’t expect any surprises — PASOK, the socialist government, has a majority in Greek parliament and we haven’t noticed any MPs at the moment who are willing to vote against this motion.

Chiotakis: How do Greek citizens look at this dilemma? I mean, obviously the country could go into default or it could be saved — but like you say on the backs of many Greeks.

Michaelides: The Greek people right now are very, very demoralized. Not because their money has become less, not because their salaries have been cut by about thirty, up to fifty percent. They are demoralized, most of them, because they don’t see an end to all this. They don’t see their government going ahead with other structural measures, and they’re only seeing the government cutting the salaries of everyday working simple people so it’s a very sad situation.

Chiotakis: Christos Michaelides, who’s the political correspondent there in Athens for the Eleftherotypia newspaper. Christos, thanks so much.

Michaelides: You’re very welcome, bye-bye.

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